According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of every video posted to "high-subscriber" channels in the first week of this year found that children's content and content featuring children was most viewed than any other type of video, with videos about video games topping the list.
That is according to Pew's analysis of postings on over 43,000 channels, each with at least 250,000 subs.
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According to Pew, "videos aimed at children were highly popular, as were those that featured children under the age of 13 – regardless of their intended audience."
Pew says only a small percentage of the videos, all English-language, posted on the channels were "explicitly intended" for children it said (based on the conclusion's of Pew's human reviewers).
But the ones that were intended for kids "tended to be longer, received more views, and came from channels with a larger number of subscribers relative to general-audience videos."
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In addition, videos that featured a child or children appearing to be younger than 13 averaged almost three times the views of other videos.
Video game videos were the post popular on the channels Pew polled, with about 18% of English-language videos posted "related to video games or gaming."
Pew pointed out that YouTube "explicitly states that the platform is not intended for children under the age of 13," and provides its own YouTube Kids platforms with parental controls. It also added the caveat that, since the study, "YouTube has made changes to its policies about the kinds of content that are acceptable to publish."
The survey comes as YouTube is widely expected to be the subject of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over how it handles content directed to children. The company has also been the subject of complaints over the assertion that some content is not targeted to kids and is thus not subject to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
Earlier this year, FTC chair Joseph Simons told Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (who backed the complaints and co-authored the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act that YouTube had allegedly violated) that if YouTube were indeed saying that a toy-review video was not directed toward kids, as Markey said was the case, the FTC would have a problem with that.
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